Meet author Eileen R Hickman
Eileen R Hickman writes fantasy with a science fiction slant. Her stories take place in her Seven World Dominion, and one of her greatest delights is discovering new things about this many-faceted cosmos. When she isn’t writing and world-building, she’s reading, traveling, making music, or watching Star Trek. She lives with her husband on the Colorado Front Range.
Tell us about your newest book.
At the Boundary of Daylight and Shadow is a fast-read novella. I consider it Fantasy, but with a strong Sci-Fi slant. I call it High-Tech Fantasy, though I don’t think that category exists among booksellers (yet). It takes place on my high-tech world in my seven-world fantasy universe and has as strong suspense element.
What inspired you to write At the Boundary Between Daylight and Shadow?
I was playing around with various stories for this particular world and this character (Agent Ranita) showed up as a minor character. But I was intrigued by her and decided to write something that would let her shine and would also show the reader a slice of what life it’s like on this world. I was also working on learning to write shorter, so I chose just one episode in her life, a two-day mission that would be typical for her and at the same time provide a pivotal point in her life. Her attitude toward the Dark Spinners (aliens) that control her world and how that attitude might be challenged provided the thematic material and after that, the story just fell together.
How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?
Ranita is a human agent for a small, clandestine resistance movement. When Dark Spinner government forces raid a safe house and capture resistance recruits, Ranita must rescue them before they reveal vital information. But the First Ministry building where they are imprisoned is protected by a security system operated by a series of highly classified codes. When a Dark Spinner offers to give Ranita the codes, she knows it’s too good to be true. Now she has to decide whom to trust. Her life, the lives of the prisoners, and the safety of the entire resistance depend on her choice.
What genre do you focus on?
Fantasy and Science Fiction have always been my favorite genres, so writing in those genres was a natural step. But I also consider Speculative Fiction written from a Christian worldview to be an important part of presenting Christ to the world. C. S. Lewis spoke of what he called fairy stories as stories that can get past the dragons. By this, he meant that people who would never accept an openly Christian story, with discussions of Christian issues and perhaps a salvation scene, might read and enjoy a fairly story, never suspecting that they are getting a glimpse of the beauty and truth of Christianity. My stories may never reach the quality of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, but I hope they will present a Christian worldview in a form that might reach someone that would never pick up a Christian romance or suspense novel.
Why do you write?
One thing that drives me is the hope that I mentioned above in my discussion of my genre. But at a more fundamental level, I write because there are just so many stories in my head waiting to get out. Besides that, I love words, and I enjoy using words to bring my mental visions into a form that can be shared. I guess that means, I write because I can’t help it, and the stories demand it.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
I’m always writing a book, or more than one, but I live a pretty unstructured life, and I can’t say I really have a work schedule. Although I admire people who have a disciplined schedule, I don’t think I could ever work under such constraints. I take care of other things in my life that I must (housework, church and relationship commitments), I set aside a certain amount of time every day for reading, and I fit the writing in as I can and when I feel like it. Fortunately, I often feel like it, and I’m motivated to get the stories written, so I do get a fair amount of writing done. I usually write pretty fast and spend a larger chunk of time on the revising and editing, which are both tasks I enjoy.
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
I think the best part of being an author is being able to justify spending so much time indulging my imagination. I’ve always been a daydreamer, and stories play out in my head all the time, but as an author, I can count the daydreaming time as work time. Also, the reading time. Conventional wisdom in the writerly world says that to be a good writer you have to be a reader. And I read a lot. I get to count that as a side task to my writing and never feel guilty about the time I spend reading.
I also enjoy interacting with other writers. What a wonderful group of people. Writers understand me the way no one else really does, and I’ve found most of them to be generous, energetic, delightful people. I think if I ever stopped writing (unlikely) I’d still want to hang out with writers.
How have you changed or grown as a writer?
My general sense of purpose for my writing is much the same as it was twenty or thirty years ago, but my skill level has grown so much. Because I’ve delayed publishing until I’m older, I’ve had time to practice my craft and implement many of the things I’ve learned. I see such growth in my ability to write a good story, and my own unique voice has matured over the years. I think writers who are in too big a rush don’t give their voice a chance to develop, which is unfortunate. I’ve also moved from writing strictly Epic Fantasy to pulling in aspects of other genres, especially Science Fiction, and I feel my stories are more interesting because of this.
What is your favorite pastime?
Reading. I have a book with me at all times, and I’m usually reading three or four at once, though occasionally one pulls me in so completely that I drop the others until it’s finished. I read across many genres of both fiction and non-fiction, though Speculative fiction has always been my favorite. I also love to travel and am on the road a lot.
What are you working on now?
I have two active projects right now, both in my seven-world story universe (as are all my projected stories). One is a short novel set on a world shared by a small group of high-tech humans and a clan culture of sentient cats. I hope to have it out by mid-year.
The other project is a full-length duology. It follows my protagonist across all but one of my seven worlds and shows a little more how all the worlds connect. It has my usual Science Fiction elements, but thematically follows the classic fantasy ideas of light vs. darkness—good vs evil. The first of the two books is in the advanced stages of revision and I hope to publish it by the end of the year. Book two is also drafted and should be out in 2024.
Link to book: https://books2read.com/u/bzVQYq
The above link provides access to e-book button, but the Kindle and Nook buttons will also provide access to the print version.
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